E3 2013: Microsoft impressions

Unfortunately, work got crazy at the exact moment that Microsoft’s press conference started, so as a result I didn’t get a chance to watch much of the livestream, and so I missed a lot of the shittiness (1, 2).

General reaction on Twitter seems to be almost comically negative, even more so than during the initial reveal of the Xbox One (which was already pretty negative).  The disappointment during that first conference seemed focused on two things:  1) there were no games being revealed, and 2) the general ambiguousness and/or perceived awfulness about MS’s policies regarding DRM/always online/privacy/used games/etc.

Microsoft does not appear to have made any appreciable upswing in their PR messaging during the interim between that first conference and today, either.   I can’t speak to any of that, though; almost none of their quote-unquote “disastrous” policies appear to conflict with my personal gaming habits, as I generally only buy new games and my consoles are always connected to my router.  (Of course, the used-games business makes my Gamefly account look pretty worthless, which is a bummer).

As for today’s news, well:  the biggest news (for me, at any rate) is that Microsoft is FINALLY adding value to an XBL Gold membership by giving away two free games every month (which is, of course, what PSN has been doing for a while  now).  The bigger question is:  will any of those free games on the 360 re-appear on the Xbox One?  Since the Xbox One comes out in November (at $500, which, yikes), this “free game” business doesn’t necessarily have that long a life cycle.

And as for the games?  Here’s what they talked about today (some 360, some One):

  • World of Tanks
  • Metal Gear Solid V
  • Dark Souls 2
  • Ryse
  • Killer Instinct
  • Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac)
  • Max: Curse of Brotherhood
  • Forza 5
  • Minecraft (?!!!)
  • D4
  • Below
  • Witcher 3
  • Battlefield 4
  • Quantum Break
  • Dead Rising 3
  • Crimson Dragon (no audio, but still looks really good?)
  • Halo… something
  • Titanfall (Respawn)

Well, that’s some games, and – to be fair – a decent amount of new IP.  But mostly lots of shooting and guns.  The only bit of the livestream that I was able to catch was of Ryse, which looked boooooooooring.  QTEs?  Really?  Ugh.   I’m reluctantly intrigued by the open-world MGS5, and I’m very curious to see what Sunset Overdrive is about.  Below might be the title I’m most interested in, being that it’s made by the Swords & Sworcery people.

Still:  $500 is no joke, and there’s nothing here that I feel like I need to have on launch day.  So I’m inclined to wait it out a bit longer.

I’m very, very curious to see what Sony has up its sleeves.  I’ve seen some Twitter comments that basically amount to Sony only needing to come out, not tell any rape jokes, and announce a launch price of $400 in order to “win” E3.  I’m not sure that Sony is in any sort of financial situation to be able to do that, however, and they certainly need to do some clarification of their own with respect to those same DRM issues that have dogged Microsoft.

Honestly, it’s the third-party press conferences (EA, Ubi, etc.) that I’m mostly concerned about.  I’m hoping we can see some stuff that doesn’t involve shooting FOR ONCE.

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